Shut up. Or rather, speak

share on:

Autoritratto (Self-portrait) is a book written by Carla Lonzi and published for the first time in 1969. A sort of montage of transcribed interviews with a series of artists, which took place between 1965 and 1969, the book originates from Carla Lonzi’s intention to distinguish between artistic creativity and the controlled and mediated activity of art criticism and to bring out a form of self-expression and self-narration that would be immediate, spontaneous and genuine.

Autoritratto gives space to the authentic voices of the artists who tell their stories, however, it is also a self- portrait of Carla Lonzi who during the years in question decides to distance herself from art criticism as a field in order to explore a subjective dimension, radically different from the position of objectivity a critic assumes. “I am no longer an outsider” – is how she defines her relationship with creativity in the book’s foreword. In that sense, self-portraiture becomes a political gesture of taking the floor, of being in control of your own story.

But what is the meaning of a self-portrait as a form of self-narration today? What are the instruments that would allow us to tell our stories in a way that is most immediate and spontaneous? During this moment of forced confinement (collective and individual at the same time), how can we create space for single subjectivities and visions? At a time when our lives take place exclusively within an intimate domestic space, self-representation has once again become a fundamental means for communicating with the rest of the world. Recently the digital spaces we inhabit have been flooded with live broadcasts, interviews, testimonials, diaries and tutorials. In one way or another, self-representation has become an inherent part of various fields, including the artistic and cultural sectors.

Taci. Anzi, parla

One of the essential characteristics of Carla Lonzi’s Autoritratto is the strong connection each protagonist has with the present, with contemporaneity. It is that connection that makes it possible for the ideas, visions and opinions to develop in the interviews, for the subjects to express themselves, through words, figures of speech and images that are part of this choral narration.

In the world we live in, with the problems we are currently facing, how can we make voices be heard? Would it be possible to recreate the same freedom and immediacy of self-expression that define the voices in the interviews of Autoritratto?

The call Shut up. Or rather, speak is an invitation to reflect on one’s voice, image, (hi)story and to self-narrate, beginning with one’s own experiences, in connection with the historic moment we are currently going through. The format of a (video) selfie, defined by Mirzoeff and other scholars in the field of visual studies as a digital performance, would allow us to construct our stories using both words and images, similarly to the interviews of Carla Lonzi, in which the intimacy of dialogues between her and the artists intersects with the personal photos of the protagonists, an intersection that helps create a protected space for thought and vision. Creating video selfies today will give us the possibility to construct a “singular collective”, in which every subject is free to choose their own form and definition, using self-portraiture as a radical gesture.

Following the call, a selection of videos will be promoted and divulged in order to offer further space to the voices and self-portraits of the participants.
The Galleria Nazionale will create visibility for the video contents by making them part of its exhibition activity, presenting them within its Lonzi Archive digital project in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, and including the self-portraits and their subjects on the online platforms of the museum and collaborating partner institutions.


Useful information

– The duration of the “self-portraits” (video selfies) cannot exceed 2 minutes

– Video self-portraits (video selfies) could include the image (self-portrait) of its creator, as well as sounds, voices, texts, other subjects, objects, actions, places, etc.

– In order to participate in the call, it is necessary:
1. to upload one’s video selfie on YouTube (marking it as “Unlisted”)
2. to send a link to the video to:
3. to attach a completed copy of the participation form

– The materials have to be sent before 11:59 PM on April 30May 10, 2020 (new deadline)


The 3 winners

On 12 June the winners were rewarded by Cristiana Collu, Director of the National Gallery, with a video conference ceremony. In addition to the winning artists, Luisella Mazza, Head of Global Programs & Operations of Google Arts & Culture, and the curators of the exhibition Io dico io – I say I Lara Conte, Cecilia Canziani and Paola Ugolini participated in the event.

Allison Grimaldi-DonahueA Self-portrait, 1’51’’
Laura HeymanThe Photographer’s Wife, 2’05’’
Léna Lewis-KingL’autoritratto, 1’33’’


The videos will become an integral part of Io dico io – I say I, the large collective exhibition of over 40 artists scheduled for March 2021 in the Salone Centrale and will be presented as part of the project digital on the Lonzi Archive developed with the collaboration of Google Arts & Culture.


The 30 finalists

The Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea announces the 30 finalists and finalists of the call selected by the jury composed by Laura Busetta, Giulia Crispiani and Valentina Tanni.

In 25 days 198 video candidates from 28 countries around the world: Italy, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, China, Switzerland, Turkey, Poland, Australia, Belgium, South Korea, Holland, Romania, Serbia , Austria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Japan, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Malta, Sweden, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The finalists: Ryu Akao, Aurora Alma Bartiromo, Elena Bellantoni, Lucrezia Berardi, Daniela Capaldo, Daniela De Lorenzo, Sabine Delafon, Javier González Pesce, Allison Grimaldi-Donahue, Laura Heyman, Val Hird, Kimvi, Woojin Lee, Léna Lewis-King, Mila Marchesini, Giulia Mazza, Domenica Melillo, Valentina Miorandi, Elisa Muliere, Eugenia Naty, Jonathan Onsuwan Johnson, Alice Padovani, Giorgia Piffaretti, Alexandru Raevschi, Giovanni Sanesi, Fabrizio Sartori, Alia Simoncini, Maria Giovanna Sodero, Maira Stefou, Francesco Taurisano.


The 30 videos


Javier González Pesce


Léna Lewis-King


Sabine Delafon


Daniela Capaldo




Elena Bellantoni


Val Hird




Eugenia Naty


Laura Heyman


Aurora Alma Bartiromo


Domenica Melillo


Giovanni Sanesi


Lucrezia Berardi


Maira Stefou


Elisa Muliere


Fabrizio Sartori


Giulia Mazza


Jonathan Onsuwan Johnson


Maria Giovanna Sodero


Valentina Miorandi


Ruy Akao


Allison Grimaldi-Donahue


Francesco Taurisano


Giorgia Piffaretti


Mila Marchesini


Alexandru Raevschi


Alia Simoncini


Alice Padovani


Daniela De Lorenzo


Sara Bonaventura


Flavia Tritto